The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to close down following orders from the government. Currently, the U.S. economy is struggling due to the pandemic. So many people have lost their jobs, and are now struggling to make ends meet. For single moms, it is their biggest challenge, especially those that cannot work amid the crisis, and still have to pay utility bills. This article will discuss some of the resources available, and what to do when you can’t pay your utility bills.
How To Handle Your Bill Payment Issues During COVID-19
However difficult life can become, as a single mom you need to take a few actions and protect yourself now and in the future. The following tips will help you handle your bill payment issues:
Avoid Bill Shock
Of course, many utility companies have promised not to disconnect services during this period. But you will still need to settle down your bills. Letting them accumulate will do you more harm than good. So, make an effort to pay what you can, for now, to avoid having to pay for a huge bill later on.
Start Preparations Early, Engage with Your Utility
Many organizations are running programs to help single moms cope with the financial situation during the pandemic. Many of them offer support through direct financial support, waived fees, or the promises they made not to disconnect services. It is important to check with your utility’s website or call them to let them know of your financial situations before you encounter any problems that you can’t handle.
Set Up A Payment Plan
Setting up a payment plan will give you peace of mind. Ensure you understand your plan. If for instance, you have decided to reduce the use of electricity at certain times of the day. This will majorly depend on your financial situation. Keep in mind that we cannot tell when this crisis is going to end. So, stick to your plan.
Explore the Cost-Effective Options
You may need to reduce your bill. One of the most effective ways is exploring cost-effective options. Ensure you contact your utility to identify the lowest cost rate plan for your household. If you see the need to change your utility plans, make sure you will be allowed for an additional switch without penalty.
Take Advantage of The Energy Efficiency Programs
Some programs support single moms by offering to pay a portion of their utility bills. take advantage of such organizations to help you through this difficult time. you can use these programs to partly pay your bills and save some money to help you out during future emergencies.
Watch Out for Scams
The rate of scams is increasing at an alarming rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be people calling you, or emailing you claiming that they are your utility company. Try not to provide them with any information. Instead, call your utility directly to ask questions or to make a payment. You can’t miss having the actual contacts of your utility company.
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) COVID-19 Response
LIHEAP has been at the forefront of supporting single moms with energy bills. LIHEAP has been doing this through National Energy Assistance Program (NEAR). NEAR provides free services to single moms in need of information on where to apply for LIHEAP. If you can’t find your local low-income Energy Office, you may reach out to NEAR through 1-866-674-6327 or TTY 1-866-367-6228. You are also allowed the program at firstname.lastname@example.org. NEAR will give you directions on where and to make an application. LIHEAP, after receiving your application, will see if you are eligible for assistance. Eligible single moms receive assistance with a portion of their energy bills. when you write an email ensure you include your place of residence; city, county, and state. Apply for LIHEAP at https://liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/profiles/energyhelp.htm. For more information, visit https://liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/help.
Keep Americas Connected Pledge
Aji Pai, who is the Federal Communications Commission Chairman, urged internet and telephone services to ensure single moms do not lose their telephone connectivity amid COVID-19 pandemic. He urged broadband providers to relax their data usage limits and take time to promote remote learning and telehealth. A list of companies signed the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected” pledge to ensure services are running for the next 60 days. Find out more at https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected.
You Can’t Pay Your Car Payments?
Ford is offering 6 months payment relief for their single mom customers who find it extremely difficult to make payment for cars at this time
Toyota, through Toyota Payment Deferment Program, is also providing payment relief options for single mothers, including an extension or lease deferred payments amid the COVID-19 crisis. Payment relief, however, is determined based on individual circumstances. Also, single moms who are unable to pay for their cars are required to contact the support center to request payment relief. Find out more at https://www.toyotaofcorvallis.com/clp-toyota-covid-19-emergency-relief-programs.